Interview on Archbishop Ngo-Dinh-Thuc (1897-1984)

This audio file contains an interview on the final days of Archbishop Thuc, the Archbishop of Hue, Vietnam. His brother an anti-communist president who was assassinated in 1963 at Vietnam.

Interview on Arch Thuc



About Bishop Webster

Bishop Webster

Childhood

Bishop Neal Webster grew up as a young Catholic in New York before the changes of Vatican II. Aware that he may have a priestly vocation he entered the seminary of the Society of St. Pius X in the U.S.A. While there he met many of the seminarians who would later become priests in the "Traditional Roman Rite Movement". Upon leaving seminary, he moved to Florida and lived with a Trappist monk. While in Florida, he developed a severe medical condition, which he was cured from (see account below). He then spent time with Franciscan friars in upstate New York who were hosting Bishop Thuc. Little did he know that the Bishop would later affect his life in a more profound way. Shortly before his ordination he became involved with promoting the rosary.


Illness and Healing

A Traditionalist Is Cured At Lourdes

Features / 02

Posted by jgreene, Feb 26, 2007 - 01:20 PM

by Neal Webster


The Angelus is delighted to present this first-hand account of a Traditional Catholic's adventures at Lourdes. Mr. Webster is a New Yorker, transplanted to Florida; he sells insurance for his livelihood and directs the Oratory of the Holy Rosary in West Palm Beach.


Part I The Pilgrimage


    The human body is a wonder of God's works. It is so very complicated and delicately balanced in all of its innumerable functions and movements that it alone is a testimony for the existence of God. For only an almighty, omnipotent and infinitely intelligent God could effect such a mechanism as our body. So delicate, in fact, is this balance of our bodies, that often one small part of it malfunctioning or not functioning at all can cause absolute havoc for the rest of it.

    In my case, the entire mechanism was being reduced to the status of invalid in rapidly deteriorating stages. The cause was a severely crushed lower disc which was pinching nerves and causing varying degrees of paralysis in one leg. In fact, nerves were being pinched and crimped and torn so badly that by the end of September, 1981, I could hardly walk more than a few yards at a time and those with great difficulty�in an unnatural, hunched forward posture, with the knees always bent. It was typical of a ninety-five-year-old man, not someone in his mid-thirties. Yet it was the only position that would lessen the discomfort, pain and numbness enough to allow a few steps to be taken. In four years I had gone from the status of being physically robust to that of a handicapped. Surgery was inevitable and I had begun to make arrangements to have the disc removed in November or December, 1981. Nevertheless, before my operation I was determined to go to Lourdes in hopes of a cure from God rather than man. I hoped to obtain, at the least, enough graces to have a successful operation and I tentatively planned to leave in the middle of November.

    On Friday, October 2, 1981, I was told quite providentially that Lourdes closed the next Wednesday, October 7, 1981, on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. (I later learned upon arriving in Lourdes that the baths are always open, but no one is there to assist.) Needless to say, I was shocked and, at first, I thought this an overwhelming dilemma. How could I possibly get to Lourdes before Wednesday, just five days away? Yet, if I didn't get there, the next opportunity would not be until Easter, when it reopened. The pace at which my health was degenerating was such that I would be totally handicapped by that time. I therefore interpreted the news as a sign from Our Lady that I was to go to Lourdes as soon as possible. (Why not take it as a sign? After all, I could have discovered Lourdes was closed after it was too late!) Believing it to be a sign, I was very hopeful, indeed, almost confident that I would have a cure. Why else would a sign be given?

    In anticipation of going to Lourdes, I had already renewed my passport. All I really needed for my journey was a plane ticket, for my only objective was to take a bath at the grotto and I cared nothing for anything else, including hotel reservations. Thanks to credit cards, telephones and friends, I was on my way by Monday, October 5, 1981, having just solved one of my biggest concerns. The concern was how I would get from the parking lot at the airport to the terminal. I could not walk the distance and I didn't own a wheelchair. Believe it or not, this presented a great difficulty for I could only walk about ten yards and then my nerves and muscles gave out and pain dramatically increased. (The airlines don't provide parking lot assistance.) Fortunately, I was given a ride and was able to find a wheelchair just outside the terminal.

    By 6:30 p.m., I was in the wheelchair and being whisked down a long, long corridor at Miami International Airport, towards a waiting Pan American 747 bound for London. (Flights to London are one-half the cost of flying directly to France.) I was to fly all night, change planes in London and fly to Paris, change airports in Paris via a cross-city bus, catch a flight to Lourdes and then somehow get from the Lourdes Airport to the grotto of St. Bernadette and Our Lady. The last leg of the journey was the greatest unknown. I spoke no French, had no contacts and had no wheelchair. I reasoned that if I was able to get as far as the Lourdes Airport, then surely Our Lord and Our Lady were helping me and surely they would somehow provide for the last leg of my journey. They would have to, for I was traveling alone.

    The prospect of going across the ocean to a foreign country alone where an unfamiliar language was spoken, and the people were even sometimes hostile to Americans, in the condition I was in, was absolutely frightening, to say the least. The fear of being a cripple in Europe with no one to help was so strong that it was the only reason I hadn't gone to Lourdes in August. I had been unsuccessful in finding anyone whose circumstances, budget and passport, etc., lent themselves to being able to go with me. A few days before leaving, I called my most likely candidate to accompany me. He really wanted to go but couldn't leave his job for one or two weeks. When I told him we would only be at Lourdes for one day and return, so that the entire trip would only take three days, he was aghast. His reply was somewhat disconcerting, but certainly justified. He said, "What are you going to do, Neal, go to Lourdes, take a bath, get miraculously cured and then fly back the next day?"

    I had to admit it did sound a little ridiculous. Weakly, I replied, "Yes." What else could I say? Aren't we supposed to be fools for Christ?

    "Well, I have to admit, Neal, your faith is much stronger than mine is. If your faith is that strong, then you ought to have enough faith that God will get you there and back by yourself!"

    I had to agree with him. Surely, if I was to be cured, Our Lady of Lourdes would see to it that I got there.

    After so many novenas, I had to attempt to go there, for how else could they possibly be answered? It's true that God can work a miracle anywhere, but He seems to prefer some visible sign to underscore the truth that it was He who caused it and no other. (Likewise, the sacraments of the Church all have external signs although their real effects are invisible and felt in the soul.) If I was cured after just having a bath a Lourdes, the visible sign of God is there. The cause of the cure is undeniably and unquestionably from God and is unquestionably Catholic. With these thoughts in mind, I thought the only thing lacking in my novenas was the visible sign. In addition, where else could one go today to get a visible sign?

    And so, with many mixed but mostly joyful thoughts, I sat near the door of the 747 (where they seat cripples) and meditated while praying in silence, one rosary after another. I declined the headphones and almost all conversation. My pilgrimage had officially begun!

    Early Tuesday morning, October 6th, we landed in London. My first test of Divine Providence was about to begin. Would there be a wheelchair or someone to help me make my connection to Air France's flight to Paris? Having been the first to board, I had to be the last to leave and wait until over four hundred people filed past me, before hobbling a few feet out the door. Thanks be to God! several wheelchairs awaited outside the plane and an airline employee was soon pushing me towards the terminal. Shortly, a motor vehicle came by and I was promptly transferred to it and whisked away once again by an attendant. I soon passed most of the passengers on my flight and having only a small carry-on bag, I was immediately taken the back way via elevators, a panel van and a bus to Air France's waiting flight. I didn't even have to think of where I was going! It was so easy, in fact, that I began thinking this is the best way to travel. But more likely, I thought Our Lady must be with me and guiding me every inch of the way. I wasn't certain of this, of course, as I still had many bridges to cross before getting to my destination. The next one was more formidable than the last. I had to take a bus across Paris unassisted. If this one was pulled off, then I would know for certain that I was having Divine assistance.

    Thus, with some apprehension, I hobbled a few yards off the airplane in Paris. As I stood outside the door, I looked for a wheelchair. The only one I saw had a Frenchman and a stewardess standing next to it. I took a few steps toward them as they seemed to be soliciting one of the passengers. As I got closer, I could discern what they were saying. They were calling my name!

    Joyfully, I nearly jumped into the wheelchair and it was off to the races! Apparently my French guide was late for an appointment for we sped through a very complicated Charles De Gaulle Airport in record time, I'm sure. Thank Almighty God for him, for I would have been lost even had I been healthy and able to read French. In just ten minutes, we were outside the airport (having passed by Customs with several thousand people waiting, with just a nod to the officials). In the next instant, I was being assisted onto a bus, led to a seat near the door, my bag placed before me, and a ticket handed to the driver. It was so fast, I never had a chance to pay! I sat there astounded. Without lifting a finger (other than to hold on), I found myself on the right bus: the bus that goes to Orly Airport where my plane for Lourdes would depart. My bridge was crossed! I pondered who it was that had taken me to the right bus without saying a word. I never found out but I was convinced I was now in the best of hands. For now I knew ... Our Lady was taking me to Lourdes!

    About forty-five minutes later Orly Airport came into view. I was amazed a taxi driver was allowed to drive a bus. I felt sorry for any car that got in our way. It was all I could do to keep my mind off the highway as I unceasingly prayed the rosary; this time with renewed fervor.

    Upon leaving the bus, I was able to communicate to a porter about my need for a wheelchair. I was wheeled to the gate and it was there that I came face to face with the reality of all the sick, who go to Lourdes. Without saying a word, a few of us in wheelchairs eyed each other and knew each other's thoughts. "The doctors had failed, we were incurable, we didn't wish to suffer any longer, we were desperate enough to try traveling far across the world on the hope of having a miracle." We felt a certain camaraderie amongst ourselves, but a certain embarrassment before others.

    All went smoothly, and approximately an hour later at 2:30 pm., Tuesday, we landed at Lourdes Airport. They were very experienced at assisting the sick and I was easily put onto a bus for downtown Lourdes. I had planned to take the bus to a hotel, and then a taxi to the grotto. Foolishly, I got off the bus too soon, outside a large hotel in front of a bus stop about one mile from the grotto. Little did I realize the tiny city of Lourdes was trying very unsuccessfuly to accommodate the biggest and last pilgrimage of the year. Over fifty thousand pilgrims were flooding the town and there wasn't a room to be found. I began to wonder what surprises Our Lady had in store for me and how she and Our Lord might provide for me. After a few hopeful prayers, I suddenly managed to get a taxi.

    Upon leaving the taxi, I found myself standing at the entrance of the grounds of Lourdes and witnessing an almost unbelievable scene. I'm sure no where else on earth could one see so many sick being moved about in various modes of orthopedic transportation, and with only volunteers pushing them. I stood outside the entrance as a steady stream of the lame, the sick and the crippled were wheeled passed me in both directions to and from the magnificent grounds of Lourdes. Hundreds passed by me in just a few minutes. I never saw so many wheelchairs in one place ... but for me, there was none. Standing there, appearing healthy, how could I make known my needs? How could I cut through the language barrier and explain to them I couldn't walk? Finally, after a torturing twenty minutes, I was able to obtain assistance and what assistance it was! Two large French volunteer helpers of the sick motioned for me to put my hands on each of their shoulders. One took my bag and they began walking as I held on. I had to hang onto their shoulders, supporting myself as they walked; and as they walked my feet dragged behind. I was still unable to move my one leg at their pace, even with little or no weight on it. For about one hundred yards, I was transported like a sack of potatoes being dragged across the ground. I suffered quite a lot being moved in such a manner but I was so overcome with joy for being there and finding help that I cared not if my illness worsened as I was coming closer and closer to my goal. Soon I would be able to take a bath in the holy waters of Lourdes! Soon I might be cured, soon perhaps Our Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, might make me whole again. I was so happy with these thoughts that nothing else really concerned me. After passing hoards of people, about one-half of them in various stages of paralysis, I was eventually dumped onto a bed in a first aid station about one-quarter mile from the grotto. Shortly, a doctor began taking my blood pressure and interrogating me.

"What happened?"

"I can't walk."

"Did you fall?"

"No, I've been this way for more than a year."

After examining me and questioning me about my condition, he asked me about my situation.

"Who is with you?"

"I came alone."

"Where are you staying?"

"I don't know. There are no hotels."

"How long are you staying?"

"Long enough to take a bath at the grotto. Could you lend me a wheelchair?"

His eyes opened very wide. Somewhat excited he said, "You have no place to stay, you are alone and you can't walk, you want to take a bath, is that right?"

I replied, "Yes, that's right."

"Amazing! You came all the way from America! You are a brave man!"

"No, Doctor, I'm nuts!"

"It's after 4:00 p.m., and the baths are closed until tomorrow. Wait here. I think I have a place for you to stay tonight." He quickly left the room.

Wait here, I thought? Where was I going to go?

He promptly returned with two helpers and a wheelchair. Once again I was whisked away�I was getting used to it�to where I knew not.

    First, I was taken outside and pushed quite a distance along the pavement past mobs of arriving pilgrims, both sick and healthy, as well as numerous nurses and volunteer attendants available to assist the sick in their every need. Suddenly, a sharp left into a large building and a new set of hands took the controls, placed me in a modified handtruck which had a seat on it, leaned me way back, almost parallel to the ground, then forward into an elevator, then down corridors and around corners. Finally someone stopped us. My driver replied to a question in French.

"St. Patrick's?" I heard.

He was then given directions and off we went again.

    Where was I? What was going on? Where were they taking me? What was St. Patrick doing in France? The mysteries were solved very shortly, as we arrived at our destination. I was wheeled into a large room with rows of beds on either side. A hospital! I was in a hospital! I was immediately deposited next to the only vacant bed. I was in one of hundreds of wards named after a great saint. Mine was St. Patrick. Blessed be God, Our Lady had done it again! Everything I needed had been provided. Food, shelter, and someone to take me to the grotto the next day, the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

    And so my journey so far was successful. Our Lady had provided for me. There I lay in a ward with twenty Frenchmen and one Italian. Many were so sick they could not even sit up in bed. They were moved on stretchers and then taken to the baths, they were lowered by straps into the water. They were the poorest of the pilgrims and the poorest of the sick. For such as these, St. Bernadette had requested that a free place always exist for them so that lack of money would never prevent anyone from making a pilgrimage. It has been said that a rich man has never been cured at Lourdes. I laid there exceedingly grateful and slightly overwhelmed at the events preceding my arrival in that room.


Part 2 The Cure


    At 7:00 a.m. on the 7th of October, the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, the lights went on and the ward became a beehive of activity. A swarm of volunteer helpers and nurses burst into action. There were at least one and a half volunteers for each patient. They assisted the sick in washing and dressing. Many of the sick were so paralyzed they need three or four at a time to help them. By comparison, I was vigorous. I could hobble a few feet to a sink and put on my own clothes. By 8:30 a.m., everyone was ready, and we watched as more volunteers came in and opposite each bed they placed the modified handtrucks which had seats on them. Soon all the patients were seated and carted down the hallways, down the elevators and outside where we were all transferred to individual wagons. Each wagon had a handle and a nurse or helper assigned to it to pull the patients over the grounds of the shrine. A blanket was thrown over my legs which were shaking in the early cold of the mountains, quite different from Florida. Soon we were lined up and pulled, caravan-style, slowly and in silence, towards the famous Basilica of St. Pius X. This was a very beautiful and touching scene. I watched as I rode along, praying my first rosary of the day. Almost every wagon was pulled by a stranger and for no material compensation. It was pure charity on a grand scale and I can think of only one place where thousands help thousands so unselfishly, and it is heaven.

    Although I was feeling very much at home for a lonely, crippled pilgrim, I was not looking forward to what was coming next! A concelebration performed before thousands who were unable to run away! My one consolation was the fact that it would be said in French which meant I wouldn't be able to understand a word. I could pray my rosary and meditate on Our Lady's holy mysteries without getting upset at what I might hear. I was at the mercy of whoever pulled my wagon and although I wanted nothing more than to go straight to the grotto for a bath, I had to wait until all the scheduled activities for the patients had taken place.

    After the services were completed, an elderly volunteer nurse was assigned to my wagon, apparently because she spoke some English. She was so dedicated to assisting me and making certain I was comfortable, I think Our Lady must have placed her there. All alone, she pulled me up a very steep incline, surprising me with her strength. She asked if there was any place I wanted to go.

"To the baths!"

    She said the patients couldn't bathe there until the afternoon, but she would pull me for one-half mile or so to see the grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette over hundred twenty years ago.

    The wagon was pulled for about twenty minutes around the grounds of Lourdes. I was pulled up-hill over a bridge crossing a river which flows by the grotto of Our Lady. On the other side we headed downstream and soon, as I rode along, I noted a large crowd on the opposite side of the river. I wondered what they were doing and suddenly it occurred to me where they were and where I was too. The grotto! There it was! The real grotto! The actual spot where Our Lady appeared! The spot where miracles abound, which every Catholic in the world has heard about; and of which I personally had seen so many replicas in this country. Was I actually here on holy ground? In a moment, tears of joy filled my eyes. I had reached the destination of a lifetime.

    My saintly nurse parked me across the river from the grotto where I sat alone able to pray and meditate undisturbed. She left to join the other patients attending a lecture on the Eucharist in French from which I was excused. I had an hour to myself to observe at a distance the pilgrims at the grotto, and reflect upon what happened there and what I hoped would happen there next. I prayed, "Please, dear Lord, let me take a bath today, on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary." I meditated across from the grotto on all the sick, on what if I wasn't cured, but primarily I looked at the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Our sin-free Lady which was placed in a niche at the top of the grotto, the exact place where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette. It was indeed sacred ground and still venerated as such. Silence was in force and all gaiety and foolish conversation ceased when one walked past. Everyone would kneel or at least pause and say a prayer while passing. The respect given was on a par to what one gives when passing a tabernacle in a traditional Catholic Church. There was a certain joy imparted to all as they knelt and prayed and it was evidenced by so many kind acts performed there.

    To the right of the grotto was a long line of pilgrims passing one by one underneath the statue of Our Lady and entering the grotto to offer their prayers and to touch and kiss the walls of the holy place.

    I meditated on how good and generous was Our Lady to have appeared to Bernadette, to give us a stern warning to amend our lives, to do penance for our sins, and to pray constantly her holy, sanctifying rosary; on how miracles are still worked today as a testimony to the truth of the apparitions and the importance of the messages. "Pray the Rosary and do penance." I thought how the water of Lourdes is symbolic of the water of baptism, because souls are nourished and given grace by both waters. I thought how the grotto in itself reminds one of the cave in which Our Lord was born, how Bernadette was a shepherdess for a period of her life, and if one likens the miraculous spring to the birth of Jesus, our divine Lord, the Nativity is recreated.

    My nurse returned. Like a trained husky, she pulled my wagon up and over another bridge crossing the river again to the grotto side. I'll never forget her, nor her strength or dedication. We passed the baths where I longed to go, but my time was not yet. A little further we stopped amidst the crowd gathered in silence by the entrance to the famous grotto. I continued to pray my rosary as I watched the long line of pilgrims file underneath the statue of Our Lady and into the recesses of the cave where they kissed and venerated the walls. My nurse suddenly left me and rushed off to speak to a guard overseeing the line of pilgrims. She then rushed back, grabbed my wagon, and pulled me through a gate, past everyone and right to the front of the line! There I was stopped as thousands of pilgrims waited and watched my wagon parked underneath Our Lady, next to the holy walls. I was so startled and surprised I didn't know what to think or to do. But it was my turn to venerate the grotto and all watched and waited for me to do something! I stumbled from my wagon to stand a moment and kiss the walls. I was beside myself with thanksgiving and emotion; I could only thank God and Our Lady for my unwarranted, unmerited preferential treatment at her holy shrine. I got back in the wagon and made the sign of the cross with some water dripping along a portion of the walls. I was next pulled inside the grotto to the spot where the holy water of Lourdes, the miraculous spring, originates. It appeared to originate from pure stone. Without pressure it was flowing from the rocks above ground level. I thought of the first time the spring had been discovered by Bernadette whereupon she washed herself in it. Finally, I was pulled from the grotto feeling absolutely jubilant, grateful, thankful, blessed and consoled. Had I immediately been transported back to America, my trip would have been worthwhile. Nevertheless, I was growing more and more anxious to take a bath but much against my will, I was required to return to my ward for lunch with the other patients.

    Eventually, the longest meal I ever ate came to an end, at 2:00 p.m. Afterwards, the volunteers entered the ward with their hand-trucks and again moved all the patients outside, where we were transferred to our wagons. My trusty nurse soon had the handle of my wagon and at last we were off to the baths! Faithfully she pulled me past the crowds and traffic jams of people, past the grotto where all was silent, where the lines of pilgrims were quietly passing beneath Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. That was as far as we got for the moment, as the lines to the baths were exceptionally long and were backed up one to two hundred yards. We were now five abreast moving only a few feet in between eternities of time. After forty-five minutes or so we had moved only a very short distance and I began to worry that my faithful servant would grow weary of shifting from one leg to the other in the cold, or grow tired of pulling me around like a slave and head back to the ward, with the suggestion of returning the next day when the crowds might be smaller. I worried, but alas, unnecessarily. We moved closer and closer without a sign of complaint and without veering from our course. I began to thank God for giving me such an incredible, self-sacrificing person to assist me on my pilgrimage, especially since she didn't even know me.

    An hour later, at about 3:00 p.m., we finally reached the entrance to the baths. There was still a long wait, but now I was sure they wouldn't close before my turn came. My nurse must have been well known because she whispered in one of the attendant's ears who was in charge of the line, and the next thing I knew I was being transferred from my wagon to a wheelchair. Time for men and women to separate. I was placed on a shorter line immediately outside the baths for about twenty minutes, another eternity of anxiousness. (How could they let me sit there like that with such longing in my heart?) At the same time, I was nervous and also very cold. What if I had come all this way and wasn't cured? What a fool I would have been. How stupid on my part. All my detractors back home in America who accused me of wasting time and money by coming here as well as lacking any sense would be proved right! "I told you so" would be my homecoming. I began to waver in my confidence in God. "I'm not going to be cured," I said to myself. "How could I be so dumb? What the heck am I doing here? Go home and have your surgery like a man!" But then, how could I not be cured? After all, hadn't I come here trusting in God? Isn't this a miraculous shrine of the holy Catholic Church? The one true Church? Hadn't enough Rosaries and Masses been offered? Wouldn't my detractors completely lose their faith if I wasn't cured? I asked God at this point to please cure me, if only for the sake of those who didn't believe or who had lost their faith, to bring them back, to offer a witness to them that: 1) there is a God Who is capable of working miracles; 2) He is present in the true Roman Catholic Church; 3) If you trust in Him, He will help you.

    Another eternity! Finally I was asked to move inside. Once inside I hobbled to the dressing room. In a flash, my clothes were off. I was ready to take the coldest plunge of my life. Suddenly an attendant threw a wet rubber cloth around me-a very cold wet rubber cloth! I grimaced, but my anxiety, excitement and longing at this point were enough to overcome  just  about anything.

    My turn came. I hobbled down two or three steps into the knee-deep water. Two men standing alongside the bath held my arms. One told me to make the sign of the cross and recite the Our Father. Gladly I did so as I shivered and the two men recited with me. Then we all said a Hail Mary. Then I was handed a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes which I was told to kiss and bless myself with it in my hand. Once that was over, I grew more nervous. The moment of a lifetime had arrived. Now I would find out if God would grant me a great favor or not. The only thing left  was to be lowered into the water. The procedure was to bend your knees, leaning backwards, as they held your arms and controlled your descent. I began to concentrate on my injury. The constant aggravation, the numbness in my leg which prevented me from walking properly, the sensation of pain! I couldn't help myself but I kept thinking that if I was to be cured, it would be instantaneous, and instantaneously, I would detect the difference in my condition. I felt the freezing water as my entire back and body were submerged including my ears, all except my face. Two seconds later, I was lifted up to a standing position, numb with the cold. I mentally examined myself. Was I cured? Was I any better? Had  there  been  a change? As I pivoted around to walk out of the bath, I had to answer a resounding "No!" to all these questions. I felt exactly the same as before, every feeling identical. I concluded all had been a failure. My coming here had been a waste of time. Our Lady and Our Lord want me to do something else, to suffer some more. Well, at least I found out. I made it to the back of the bath, hobbling as I always had done. I placed one foot on the steps and as I began to climb, I felt something touch my back. I felt as though something was being inserted, as though a narrow slot had been filled with a thin disc. What was that? I took another step up. Hey! what's this? I don't feel any aggravation, or any burning or any numbness is my leg. What's going on? How come suddenly nothing seems wrong, no more symptoms? I made it to the top step, removed my rubber garment, took two short steps, reached for my clothes and began to put them back on. I bent over, I leaned backwards, I twisted. What's going on? Nothing bothers me! Can it be, can it be? It must be! I must be cured!!! But wait, I don't want to "jump the gun," to celebrate too soon. Maybe when I get outside I'll feel the same again and be unable to move as always. But no matter what I did, no matter how I stood, no matter how I moved, I felt normal. That is, I felt great! Not only that, I was almost completely dry before putting my clothes on and I hadn't a towel to dry myself. That was a miracle in itself, I thought. I stood up straight for the first time in about two years �the first time with my knees locked. I expected at any moment for my leg to give, but it didn't! I started to walk outside, like a normal person. I was cured!!!

    Several attendants, upon seeing me unassisted, rushed to grab my arms and help support me and others started to place a wheelchair under me. I told them I would try walking a while. After I'd left the entrance to the baths, I walked about twenty yards to my nurse, where she patiently waited. I surprised her, she hadn't seen me walk towards her. She motioned for me to get into the wagon as usual. I said, "Let me try walking awhile," and off we went. She pulled the empty wagon in silence as I joyfully walked alongside, testing my new body. I was so overwhelmed and exhilarated that I wanted to jump up and click my heels and shout, "I am cured!!!" Restraining myself instead, I walked as a doctor or a scientist, analyzing every step, every feeling, every movement, constantly re-evaluating myself, constantly looking for pain, for aggravation, weakness and numbness in my leg. But every step was taken as easy as the one before�every step was being taken without symptoms, not as before my bath. Every step was that of a normal, healthy person.

    Intellectually, the power of God was made evident to me. Who but a Supreme Being could instantly manufacture out of nothing a part of the human body? No operation, no incision, yet He places it in the body with or without our permission. We have no say in the matter. If God wants to do something to us, it is done and it is absolutely impossible for us to resist. His power is overwhelming and humiliating to us for we are nothing but tiny specks of dust in His omnipotent hands and He can crush us or cure us as He chooses.

    Without a doubt, this was the happiest walk of my life. But it was short-lived. After approximately one-quarter mile, we came to a halt. I was tired, not having walked so far in over two years. The other patients were being parked outside the Rosary Basilica for the late afternoon procession. My nurse told me to get in the wagon. I said, "No, you get in the wagon! You have pulled me everywhere, it is only fair and just that I now pull you for awhile." She laughed but said to me, "If you wish to stay in the hospital tonight, you better get in the wagon. The hospital is for the sick." She won. I got back in the wagon and rode along, slightly confused as to where I belonged.

    So my first normal walk after being cured came to an end. I was ecstatic as I was pulled past the hundreds of sick and crippled, all neatly parked in rows, awaiting the afternoon ceremonies. Then it really hit me how fortunate I was and yet how undeserving I am for God to have cured me and not the others. There were many who were absolutely helpless, unable so much as to raise their heads. I met a seventeen-year-old boy paralyzed from the neck down. He couldn't even move his hands. He could hardly even talk. I couldn't help thinking, "Why am I cured and he is not?" There were literally thousands in a worse condition that I was when I arrived who went home uncured, at least physically. So why is the favor given to me? Only God knows for sure, but a nun asked me what devotions or practices I might do which perhaps were different from the other pilgrims. What I do might have nothing to do with the reason I was cured. It could have been others praying for me of which there were very many I later learned upon my return. Perhaps God merely rewarded my boldness in going there unassisted? Nevertheless, let me relate my devotions and religious practices:

1)   Every day I faithfully attend two traditional Latin Mass offered in a private residence.

2)   Every Sunday I faithfully attend two or three traditional Latin Masses in a private residence.

3)   Other than a funeral or wedding, I never attend a Novus Ordo Mass.

4)    I go to confession to a traditional priest without faculties from the nearest Novus Ordo bishop.

5)    I say fifteen decades of the Rosary every day before the Blessed Sacrament.

6)   Every summer I go on retreat to  make the traditional Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius given by the Society of St. Pius X.

    In short, every Catholic thing I do, devotional or sacramental, is pre-Vatican II.

    Whether or not this is the reason for God's favor is not really significant. Everyone knows prayers can be very powerful and answered in a dramatic way. But what is significant is that God is obviously not displeased with the traditional practices. For afflictions are so often punishments for sins that it would seem absurd to have a cure if every day the person cured committed grave mortal sin, and continued to do so. Today we are told the worst possible sin is to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Had a cure not been given, the thought in the minds of many would be, "Our Lord God is displeased with the traditional Mass because he attends it faithfully and no cure is given!" Almighty God is well aware of this thought process, and if anything, He has given a most definite sign of approval for the traditional Mass and the traditional devotions of the Church! Remarkably, during the three days I was at Lourdes amidst thousands, I did not see one other cure. I have been told the number of cures has almost gone to zero since Vatican II. I can't verify that, but I did inquire of my nurse and two nuns, and others in the hospital who had been around Lourdes for years. None of them had ever seen a cure before mine. In this, they were unanimous.

    Yet because of my religious practices, some Church authorities think I am excommunicated, schismatic, disobedient, in mortal sin, in danger of damnation ... but ... Our Lady of Lourdes doesn't seem to think so!

This article comes from Angelus Online
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